The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School



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New Jersey reopens the Black Bear Hunting Season: 331 Bears Harvested So Far

Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash

The controversial black bear hunt in New Jersey has returned, with Segment A having occurred October 9th to October 14th and Segment B set to occur December 4th to December 9th. Despite regulation changes signed by Governor Murphy and the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette banning the hunting of bears weighing less than 75 pounds and/or in the presence of cubs, animal rights advocates still protest the hunt for being unnecessary and inhumane. The governor’s approval of the 2022 and now 2023 bear hunting season has fueled further controversy due to his change of stance on the environmental debate; in 2018 he issued an executive ban on the hunting of black bears on state lands, and then allowed the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Plan (dependent on bear hunting) to expire in 2021, effectively deeming that year bear-hunt free. He states that he reversed his decision in order to reduce a growing trend of bear-human interactions.

According to the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife’s 2022 Bear Activity Report, Category II of the report constituted the largest percent increase since 2021, mostly influenced by an increase in reports of garbage and nuisance issues. The department defines nuisance bears as those not posing a threat to public safety or property, further fueling complaints of the necessity of the hunt.

When asked about his thoughts on the hunt, AP Environmental Teacher Mr. Campbell stated that while he is understanding of New Jersey’s hunt of species like deer (which are severely overpopulated and threaten biodiversity), he struggles to fully support the ecological reasoning behind the black bear hunt. It appears that the black bear management plan benefits the comfort of citizens rather than solves any major environmental issue. 

 The management plan aims to reduce the bear population by 20%, and the hunt will be exceeded if this rate is not reached by the end of Segment B; the hunt will be closed early if the harvest rate reaches 30% to prevent population decline. All hunters must have a legal permit and valid firearm, archery, or All-Around Sportsman hunting license. Licensed youth hunters as young as 10 to 13 years old are allowed to participate if supervised by a permitted adult hunter. 

What are your thoughts on the hunt? To stay updated on its progress or to voice your opinion regarding the black bear hunt, you can reach the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection and Board of Fish and Wildlife through their website online ( or call any of their contact addresses listed under the “Contact Us” page.


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